Lonicera nitida

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Lonicera nitida
L. nitida 'Baggesen's Gold'
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Dipsacales
Family: Caprifoliaceae
Genus: Lonicera
L. nitida
Binomial name
Lonicera nitida

Lonicera nitida is a species of flowering plant in the honeysuckle family. In English, it is sometimes given the common names box honeysuckle or Wilson's honeysuckle.[1] It is widely used as a low hedging plant, and for topiary. It is also a popular low-maintenance ground cover plant for urban landscaping.

The species is native to China, in the area of Yunnan and West Sichuan, where it grows in scrub form along streams at 1,200–3,000 m (3,900–9,800 ft).


L. nitida is a broadleaf evergreen shrub 4–5 ft (1.2–1.5 m) tall[2] and 4–6 ft (1.2–1.8 m) wide if unclipped, with dark green, small leaves (6–16 millimeters long). The creamy white, fragrant flowers, appearing at the end of spring,[3] are 6 millimeters long, and grow in pairs. The fruit (rarely formed on clipped specimens) is an inedible bluish-purple berry[4] about 6 millimeters in diameter. The stems are layered one on top of the other giving the appearance of a haystack.[5] The growth rate is moderate[6] or fast growing.[7] While resistant to deer and rabbits,[8] it is attractive to birds. When planted, the species is easy to clip and needs frequent clipping because it flops if it grows to a height over 5 feet.[9] The species is commonly confused with Cotoneaster species. The difference between the two is that Cotoneaster has alternate leaves while this species has opposite leaves.[10]

The Latin specific epithet nitida means "shining', in reference to its glossy leaves.[11]

Cultivars include 'Maigrün', 'Baggesen's Gold' and 'Briloni' (a.k.a. 'Edmee Gold')[12]


When planted, the species should be put in the full sun to light shade in fertile, well-drained soil.[7] The species is more shade resistant than most honeysuckles.[7] The species can tolerate drought[3] and pollution.[4]

Lonicera nitida takes clipping well and makes a small hedge.[13] The cultivar 'Baggesen's Gold' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[14][15]

At Osborne House, a holiday home built in 1845 on the Isle of Wight for Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert, there are L. nitida shrubs clipped in the form of stags rising from beds of Felicia amelloides, Festuca glauca, and Pelargonium inquinans.[16]

This plant is often used for bonsai. Because it is an energetic grower, it is possible to collect old and quite sizable L. nitida from the landscape or growing wild, cut most of the roots and branches off to start from scratch to build a new tree-like form.


  1. ^ "Lonicera nitida". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2010-02-21.
  2. ^ "Lonicera nitida". Oregon State University. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
  3. ^ a b Burghardt, James. "Lonicera nitida 'Lemon Beauty'". Learn 2 Grow. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
  4. ^ a b American Horticultural Society (2004). Great Plant Guide. DK Publishing, Inc. p. 355. ISBN 0-7566-0315-3.
  5. ^ "Lonicera nitida 'Lemon Beauty' (Boxleaf Honeysuckle)". Pender Nursery. Archived from the original on 2011-01-02. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
  6. ^ "Lonicera nitida". North Carolina State University. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
  7. ^ a b c "Lonicera nitida". Bellevue Botanical Garden. Archived from the original on 2010-06-15. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
  8. ^ "Lonicera nitida 'Lemon Beauty'". Heritage Perennials. Archived from the original on 2010-01-05. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
  9. ^ Clive, Lane (2005). Plants for Small Spaces. David & Charles. p. 38. ISBN 978-1-55870-749-8.
  10. ^ Dirr, Michael (2002). Dirr's trees and shrubs for warm climates: an illustrated encyclopedia. Timber Press. p. 205. ISBN 978-0-88192-525-8.
  11. ^ Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for Gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. ISBN 978-1845337315.
  12. ^ "JC Raulston Arboretum". Archived from the original on 2015-06-24. Retrieved 2012-09-01.
  13. ^ Lucas Phillips, C. E. (1952). The Small Garden. William Heinemann Ltd. p. facing 237.
  14. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Lonicera nitida 'Baggesen's Gold'". Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  15. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 61. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  16. ^ Taylor, Patrick (2008-01-01). "Osborne House". The Oxford Companion to Gardening. Retrieved 2010-02-11.

Media related to Lonicera pileata var. yunnanensis at Wikimedia Commons